Learn how to make three different varieties of Manhattans with cocktail maven, Darby Doyle.
I love an opportunity to mix work with pleasure, which I’m happy to report happens often in the blogging/cooking/photography sphere. Hello, that’s why I’m here. I like to play.
The beautiful woman in the photo above is my lovely and talented friend, Darby Doyle, otherwise known as A Bourbon Gal. Those of us who call Salt Lake home are well acquainted with Darby’s writing – she’s been covering the local food and drink scene here for the past several years. Her stories have appeared in many of my favorite local publications and blogs, including cityhomeCOLLECTIVE, Devour Magazine, Salt Lake City Weekly and Vamoose outdoors magazine, to name a few.
Darby’s Southern charm, delightful Kentucky drawl, and witty humor come through in every piece. With a background in history and archeology, Darby doesn’t shy away from doing thorough research for every article (I didn’t ask her, you can just tell…also, I snuck a brief peek into her writing studio and couldn’t ignore the stacks of books on a host of food topics). The woman does her homework, making her a trusted local source not only for information about drinking and dining in Utah, but also food and drink in general.
Darby and I have always shared a fondness for food and skiing, so it makes sense that we jive. We originally met in our kids’ preschool, where Darby’s delightful signature laugh caught my attention and held it. You know those people whose laugh is so contagious you can’t help but join in? That’s Darby. Who doesn’t want to be around someone like that?
A few weeks ago, Darby showed me how to make three different types of Manhattans: The Classic Manhattan, the Black Manhattan and the “Perfect” Manhattan. I have to say, had no idea there were so many variations on this classic cocktail. And to be frank, each one was tasty in its own way, but my personal favorite was the Classic. If you’re new to Manhattans, I highly recommend trying all three. I did. One after the other. Fun was had.
Darby calls the Manhattan her snowy night cocktail, so yeah, I’m a little late bringing you these recipes at the tail end of ski season in the West, but do you really need an excuse for a delicious cocktail? I didn’t think so. If you haven’t given Manhattans a try (I had not up until this point), do yourself a great big favor and stock up on some good whiskeys, bitters and whatever ingredients you’ll need based on the three recipes Darby has shared with us below.
Darby and I share an interest in supporting local businesses that take pride in their products, like Sugarhouse Distillery and Honest John Bitters. Check them out, or if you’re outside of Utah, see if there are any quality local whiskeys or bitters in your area.
A few bar essentials for the best Manhattan mixing experience:
- have plenty of good ice on hand
- invest in a nice weighted bar spoon
- get yourself a fancy cocktail mixing glass
- ensure you have a cocktail strainer
- get your hands on some cute cocktail coupe glasses
Manhattans Three Ways
Let’s get a little fancy, shall we? Call up a few friends and mix up some Manhattans for an evening of classic cocktails. Choose your favorite variety. or mix up up all three. Warning: mixing up all three varieties will immediately throw you in the cocktail maven category. Be prepared to have plenty of liquor on hand at all times.
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 ounces Sugar House Distillery rye whiskey (or other rye whiskey)
- 3–4 dashes Honest John Aromatic Bitters (or Angostura)
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a fancy cherry or three. Odd numbers are good luck, says Darby.
- 1 ounce Averna Amaro
- 2 ounces Wild Turkey rye whiskey
- 3–4 dashes Honest John Black Walnut Bitters (or similar bitters found in your area)
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a fancy cherry.
- ½ ounce sweet vermouth
- ½ ounce dry vermouth
- 2 ounces rye whiskey (if you like sweeter drinks, bourbon works well in this Manhattan)
- 3–4 dashes orange bitters
- Stir with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with orange or lemon swath.
See above for each variety of Manhattan.
Honest John Bitters and Sugarhouse Distillery are two local Utah brands. Feel free to substitute with your favorite whiskeys and bitters, but if you live in Utah, do give these a try if you haven’t already.